Update May 2017: President Trump has opened the Atlantic to seismic testing and drilling.
What do you think about oil rigs off the coast of Holden Beach?
The divisive topic of offshore oil and gas exploration has groups up and down the coasts of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia talking! The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) released a draft proposal for offshore oil and gas leasing that includes the coast of part of the Mid- and South-Atlantic.
Over 70 coastal communities, most local governments in North Carolina and 400 officials have opposed drilling and/or seismic testing. Former Governor Pat McCrory and Senators Burr and Tillis support exploration and drilling. The Raleigh News and Observer published an article on the issue recently and this editorial. You can also read a summary of the issues here. Former VA Governor Martin O’Malley’s opinion piece on drilling along the eastern seaboard was picked up by the New York Times.
Those in favor of exploration and drilling cite energy independence and job creation as reasons to support the plan.
Those opposed to the plan cite the environmental risk, the lack of revenue sharing, and the economic risk to tourism and coastal communities. Tourism and coastal fishing industries generate $2.2 billion GDP annually and account for more than 50,000 jobs.
Any offshore drilling project would make use of seismic imaging, a new technology that bounces sound waves off underground rock structures to identify oil and gas reservoirs beneath the earth’s surface. The process involves the use of seismic air guns that release strong bursts of air and sound as they are towed behind vessels, enabling crews to create two and three-dimensional images of the seafloor. This highly controversial method for hunting petroleum deposits is suspected to harm fish, whales, dolphins and other marine life. A protest letter signed by 75 leading marine scientists was sent to President Obama asking him to not allow seismic testing in the Atlantic, warning that testing “is likely to have significant, long-lasting and widespread effects on the reproduction and survival of fish and marine mammals”. You can read more about it here.
Click here to go to the summary page from the BOEM which includes a map of the areas proposed for drilling and a summary of the plan.
At the Labor Day 2015 meeting HBPOA voted to oppose seismic testing and oil and gas development. Click here for our resolution. The Town of Holden Beach has also opposed seismic testing and drilling. We hope that you will become familiar with the energy issues facing coastal North Carolina and the potential impact on Holden Beach.
Want to know more? Below are some links with more information you might be interested in!
5-10-17 Dept. of the Interior News Release on Seismic Testing: https://www.doi.gov/pressreleases/interior-department-advances-america-first-offshore-energy-strategy
5-2-17 Oil and Gas Issues for NC: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article148025239.html
8-2-16 Ariel Surveys for Oil and Gas Approved: http://pilotonline.com/news/local/environment/feds-said-no-to-atlantic-oil-and-gas-drilling-but/article_915ecb8a-97d8-5547-a830-ba3520cf22f9.html
3-15-16 Atlantic Drilling Pulled: http://www.carolinacoastonline.com/news_times/article_65e55426-eab8-11e5-9581-17700129b217.html
3-15-16 Obama bars Atlantic Offshore Drilling: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-15/obama-said-to-bar-atlantic-coast-oil-drilling-in-policy-reversal
2-18-16 Decision Nears on Oil and Gas: http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20160218/PC16/160219337/1006/decision-nears-on-oil-and-natural-gas-drilling-offshore
2-18-16 Presidential Candidates’ Positions from National Geographic: http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2016/02/17/where-the-candidates-stand-on-offshore-oil/
1-6-16 Bipartisan opposition to seismic testing: http://www.coastalreview.org/2016/01/congressmen-urge-halt-to-seismic-permitting/
1-6-16 Press Release and letter signed by 31 members of the House in opposition to seismic testing: https://sanford.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/sanford-leads-effort-to-halt-seismic-testing-in-the-atlantic
9-23-15 New study on Seismic Testing: http://stateportpilot.com/news/article_41fb99b8-61fa-11e5-9226-f766591cacda.html
Brunswick County Oil and Gas Vote: http://www.coastalreview.org/2015/08/brunswick-stands-alone-on-testing/
Seismic Testing Effects Unclear: http://www.coastalreview.org/2015/08/panel-seismic-effects-still-unclear/
Wilmington votes to oppose drilling and seismic testing: http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20150721/ARTICLES/150729957/1177?p=all&tc=pgall&tc=ar
Brunswick County asks for more info on seismic testing: http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20150720/ARTICLES/150729969/1017/news01?Title=Brunswick-board-seeks-more-seismic-testing-data
Aerial survey starting, seismic testing next spring: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article27255070.html
Walden Report: The Economic Potential from Developing North Carolina’s On-Shore and Off-Shore Energy Resources, by Professor Michael Walden, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, NCSU: http://ag-econ.ncsu.edu/sites/ag-econ.ncsu.edu/files/faculty/walden/drillingnc.pdf
American Petroleum Institute (API) report: http://questoffshore.com/wp-content/uploads/Economic-Benefits-Full-Dec.13.pdf
Wakeman Report: Details on Jobs and the Economics of the Oil Business in NC by Douglas J. Wakeman, PhD., Professor of Economics, Meredith College School of Business: (Basically, compares Walden Report and API report) http://www.slideshare.net/jclark_selc/drillingeconomicsv2
Royalties need act of congress: http://www.coastalreview.org/2015/06/benefits-based-on-assumptions/
Oil and Gas Revenue varies by state: http://www.coastalreview.org/2015/06/oil-gas-revenues-vary-by-state/
Offshore Drilling Series from Costal Review Online: http://www.coastalreview.org/2015/06/offshore-drilling-series-begins/
Southern Atlantic Energy Security Act: (would require 2.5 percent of state-allocated funds to be used on a public-private partnership between industry, schools and historically black colleges and universities) http://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2015/5/s. 1279 – southern atlantic energy security act
More on Seismic Testing:
More background: http://www.coastalreview.org/2015/04/qa-whats-all-the-noise-about/